Want your Child to Make Healthier Choices?
Teach your kids to foster a healthy relationship with food by implementing a few of these recommendations that will support innate wisdom for your amazing children!
Model Good Eating
“In terms of teaching our children to dare greatly in the ‘never enough’ culture, the question isn’t so much “Are you parenting the right way?” as it is: “Are you the adult that you want your child to grow up to be?” -Brene Brown in Daring Greatly
Its time to look in the mirror! Good eating starts with you and what you are modeling!
Be the parent that buys healthy food
When unhealthy food is available both you and are kids are more susceptible to making critical errors in food choices. Keep healthy options on the counter and put smart snacks on shelves THEY can reach! Children will learn to eat what is easily available to them.
Cook only one meal for everyone
I have a lot of moms I work with that prepare two different meals for their families. “My kids won’t eat what I usually cook so I put some frozen chicken nuggets in the oven for them and it works.” Majority of these moms are coming to me because they are tired, burned out, and dealing with health complaints. In this state I understand that moms want to peace of mind knowing that their child is eating something of substance. BUT here’s the thing: making separate meals, or catering to their relentless requests, will only enable picky eating! You are literally telling them that it is OK to not eat what you are serving. This wastes your time (as the chef) and makes your children less adventurous when it comes to trying new foods.
Switching this mindset takes patience and practice! Your child will eventually choose from the food that is served, without feeling pressured, and in the long run will become more flexible at mealtimes. Imagine them being more confident with food in general!
A Great Place to Start: Get your child to eat Healthier by cutting back the sugar in your diet.
Limit sugar and refined carbohydrates in your child’s diet. Foods such as white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, and many breakfast cereals (yes, you need to start thinking outside the box first thing in the morning) that cause significant blood sugar spikes. These spikes will influence your child’s mood and energy levels. Instead turn your focus to complex carbohydrates. These foods are digested slowly and are more filling which gives your wonderful kiddo more energy and focus throughout the day.
The hard part? How do I do this when my child is used to eating Fruity Pebbles for breakfast?
Remember, this is a process and you are not going to jump from Fruity Pebbles to antibiotic free sausage patties on arugula in one day!
Here are some recommendations to help you and your child switch to a healthier meal plan!
1. Offer a new food only when your child is hungry and limit ‘sweet’ snacks throughout the day.
This is a tough one first thing in the morning because not all kids are ‘starving’ first thing in the morning. I find that introducing a fruit smoothie with protein powder first thing does the trick to support the child with this healthy transition. Here is an example of a smoothie recipe that will help!
Blueberry Mint Smoothie
• 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
• 1/2 cup of coconut milk
• 1 tsp chopped mint
• 1/2 avocado
• 1 scoop of collagen
• 3/4 cup of ice
Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
2. Have your child help prepare meals—they’ll be more willing to eat something they help to make.
I love this! My son loves baking shows and cooking competition shows. After watching them, he wants to go directly to the kitchen and ‘get hands on’. This is difficult for a busy mom BUT remember to support your child’s love of food and exploration.
I start this by giving my son guidelines.
“Yes, of course you can cook, but you have access to only these ingredients”.
Create boundaries that you are comfortable around for both you and your child. Are they old enough to measure flour on their own? Can they use a knife? If not, do you have a child friendly version they can use AND with your supervision? Can they read a recipe? If so, then have them get all the ingredients ready before making the recipe. That way they can put it all together on their own. My son loves this because he feels like he is doing the cooking on his own, reinforcing independence!
What is some way you feel comfortable letting your child cook/meal prep with you?
Brown, Brene. Daring Greatly.
Robinson, Lawrence and Segal, Jeanne Ph.D.
Accessed 14 May 2019